It all started when Jasmine thought out loud, that it would be a good idea to put a Fairy garden into the Bloom garden festival under the Post Card garden section. At the time I was a little reluctant as I had a very large workload. She asked me to create a basic plan and plant list which I did and handed it to her as I was going out to work. When I came back in the evening, the plan had turned into a work of art. She filled in the application form and thought it would be a nice idea to base the garden on acts of human kindness.
The next thing I heard about Bloom was Jasmine talking excitedly on the phone announcing that we were going to Bloom. I knew my life would not be the same again. To put it in context I have not seen the surface of my kitchen table from that time to this. It is covered with buttons, artificial flowers, beads, pliers, wire, paint, paint brushes to name but a few of the materials on my table. I have had to eat my dinner with my plate in my lap on numerous occasions.
Onwards and upwards, Jasmine got straight into action enrolling Cuprinol to sponsor the paint, Ardcarne Garden Centre and Mary Frances to sponsor the plants. The craft ladies in the ICA were delighted to help her, friends, neighbours were all included. There was no one left out. There was nothing only talk of fairies and fairy gardens in our home from that day until yesterday.
There was a workshop organised to make fairies with the craft group of the ICA, another workshop to make fairy doors, fairy tables, benches, tools, fairy clothes were all made. Fairy clothes were sewn on intricately onto fairy clothes lines. There was no end to the ideas that came up for fairy material. Jasmine and the ICA ladies got stuck in creating fairy anything needed.
A fairy wishing chair was part of the plan. Legs and arms were cut off old chairs that had any kind of intricate design. They were going to be remodeled into a wishing chair. Eventually it was seen that a few slices of tree could be turned into a wishing chair with a few simple cuts and a joining together of the material. PJ set off to conquer this hurdle ably helped by Jo with all the suitable tools making light work of the finishing process.
Shannon Orchard with Procrastimake with Fairy wishing chair at Bloom
Next there was a wishing well needed for the plan. Size was an issue. Baskets, buckets, hedgehog houses were all tried out for size until eventually a suitable size basket was found as the model for Donal, a whizz with fibre glass moulding. He created an upside down toad stool as a wishing well. A log was drilled and attached as the stalk piece. The toad stool then got the customary painting and polka dotting. It was ready for Bloom.
The plan had a fence around it and an arch in the centre. It was decided that a wicker work fence and arch would be made. PJ, having watched his father as a child making ‘creels’got into action. He searched down every bohereen in the neighbourhood looking for suitable willow and dogwood for his creations. Soon he had the material he needed and work began. Willows were ‘deleafed’, dogwood clipped, paired and woven until he was satisfied with his creations. The end product was varnished and ready to go.
The fairy hotel was next. A barrel of the right size was sourced painted and fairy doors attached by Jasmine. The roof created a difficulty and soon an old plant urn was regenerated into this pink glamorous roof with gold windows on it. To crown the hotel roof Adam’s ball was covered in gold glitter and seated stately on top.
Every thing was recycled. Nothing was safe or sacred. If it could be turned into anything for the fairy garden it was. Wellingtons, cd’s, play school equipment, pudding bowls, bottle tops, old buttons, garden stones were all recycled. In fact little to nothing escaped the remodeling frenzy.
Murph’s master piece was next. He set about creating a fairy house with intrinsic attention to detail. Spending hours trying to get his creation just right. He was less than appreciative when he received assistance from a less meticulous member of the team. His attention to detail prompted much teasing, over exaggeration and joviality. Some members going so far as to suggest that a real house could have been built while he was building the fairy house. He took it all in the jovial way it was meant.
There was a fairy cave to be included in the back of the garden. This part of the project fell to me. I searched high and low for the right size barrel. Some were too big. some were too small. eventually a beer barrel was just the right size. A barrel that size would not give any depth to the cave so a mirror was placed in the bottom of the barrel and a piece of fake grass which was supposed to be real was placed on top. The barrel was painted on the inside to look like greenery and rocks with minerals in them. Next the moss and the ferns. These were sourced in a local forest. Size was an issue again. The plants had to be small, beads melted down made the pool and all were placed into the cave. The finishing touch was a fairy with her feet in the pond, some moss around the rim and a naturally sculptured branch placed at the entrance.
Last but not least the back drop to the garden had to be created. ‘Real artists’ were approached but declined the project. This meant that this part of the project was left to Jasmine and I. We worked in partnership to create a 3m x 2.4m painting. We explored a lot of options on the internet but decided to use a photograph of Derreen Lake forest in full bluebell flower as the inspiration for the backdrop. This gave the idea of the garden being on the edge of or in the forest. Neither Jasmine or I had ever painted anything that size before. I had often seen large paintings in museums and thought that one day I would love to paint one. This painting was about twice the size I had in mind. I was very pleased when the ‘real artists’ declined the project. Here was an opportunity.
It was decided that a fairy castle in the distance would be part of the painting. Jasmine and I have very different styles of painting. We w0rked for some time together. W e decided that it would be better to have one of us paint the picture. I have the painting experience so it was decided to leave me to finish off the painting. It took hours of work and concentration. My love of painting was rekindled. Two days before Bloom the painting was declared finished by the seeming constant stream of visitors to view it, dragged there by PJ.
Finally the plants were collected from Ardcarne Garden Centre. Mary Frances had all ready except a few last minute changes. Photographs were taken and we were ready for the first trial run of putting the garden together.
Jasmine had asked Tom the photographer to photograph the trial run before going to Bloom. I was not too sure that was a good idea. My fear was our stress levels would be high and we would not be a pretty sight. More than likely I am talking about my stress levels being high and looking like a frantic clown. I need not have worried.
Tom arrived, he was the perfect gentleman. It would be very hard for anyone to be stressed around him. He photographed from every side, photographed every activity, every nuance for hours, until after four hours he was complete.
We had a few last minute changes. We decided that we needed a second tree to put all the fairies we had on. There was no point in having them in the bottom of a bag. Somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to make them. On top of that the overall design would have balance and it would work.
Off down to Mary Frances in Ardcarne to get a second tree. The trees were all examined again until one was found that a lot of fairies could be hung on. Now we were as ready as ever we would be for bloom. All that was left was the packing and the deciding what transport we needed to carry all the stuff. It was decided we would put the plants in the van, the big stuff in PJ’s jeep and Jasmine would bring all the fairy stuff. The team were set for the Phoenix Park and Bloom.
Finally the theme of the garden was the magic of kindness. The magic of kindness was all we experienced from start to finish.
I hope you like this post and please share it with your friends and do give it the thumbs up if you enjoyed it. Grainne